Medical College of Wisconsin
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Ward Rounds With or Without an Attending Physician: How Interns Learn Most Successfully. Acad Pediatr 2016;16(7):638-44



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84978842639 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   9 Citations


OBJECTIVE: To explore pediatric interns' perspectives on the educational value of general pediatric ward rounds, in particular their rounding experiences with and without an attending physician.

METHODS: Qualitative study using individual interviews of pediatric interns (2013-2014) rotating on 2 general pediatric inpatient services at different institutions with different rounding team structures. In accordance with grounded theory methodology, data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Codes were built using an iterative approach and organized into themes.

RESULTS: Twenty pediatric interns participated in 25 interviews. Data analysis yielded 4 themes: what is being learned; learning environment on rounds; learning and work; and ways of learning. Senior residents generally taught practical aspects of patient care and attending physicians taught broader concepts with references to the medical literature. Rounds without an attending physician were perceived as less formal and promoted collaborative discussions with senior residents. Interns were more uncomfortable during rounds with an attending physician but appreciated how that facilitated their learning. Although patient care tasks provided opportunities for experiential learning, interns frequently perceived them to impede learning during rounds. Intern learning during ward rounds occurred via self-directed learning, interactive learning, and through caring for patients. Brief, clinically relevant teaching pearls and questioning clinical reasoning in a respectful manner were helpful.

CONCLUSIONS: Interns learn different content and learn in different ways depending on the presence or absence of an attending physician at rounds. There might be educational value from rounding with teams that include and do not include an attending physician.

Author List

Seltz LB, Preloger E, Hanson JL, Lane L


Erin M. Preloger MD Assistant Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Attitude of Health Personnel
Cooperative Behavior
Grounded Theory
Internship and Residency
Medical Staff, Hospital
Peer Group
Qualitative Research
Teaching Rounds